KSYL Local News

News For MOnday 06/25/12


NEWS FOR MONDAY 062512
BY DAVE GRAICHEN

LOUISIANA MAY HAVE DODGED A BULLET WITH TROPICAL STORM DEBBY. THE FIVE DAY FORECAST ON SUNDAY MORNING CALLED FOR DEBBY TO MAKE LANDFALL IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AS A HURRICANE. BUT NOW FORECASTERS BELIEVE DEBBY WILL HIT THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE. BUT STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM BECAUSE THE FORECAST ON THIS STORM HAS BEEN CHANGING, IT'S IMPORTANT FOR LOUISIANA RESIDENTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON IT. KEIM SAYS DEBBY WILL SPEND THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS SOAKING FLORIDA AND KEEPING LOUISIANA ON ITS GUARD, BECAUSE ITS NOT EXPECTED TO MOVE MUCH. BY THE WAY, WITH THE FORMATION OF DEBBIE, IT IS THE 1ST TIME SINCE 1851 THAT 4 STORMS HAVE FORMED BEFORE JULY.

BOBBY COLLINS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE WINNFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY, WAS NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ALEXANDRIA HOUSING AUTHORITY IN A UNANIMOUS VOTE FRIDAY OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS. THE VOTE CAME ONE DAY AFTER COLLINS' APPOINTMENT WAS PUT ON HOLD WHEN THE BOARD OF THE STATE-CHARTERED AGENCY DEADLOCKED 2-2 ON HIS HIRING. BOARD MEMBER LISA HARRIS WAS ABSENT THURSDAY WHILE COMMISSIONERS DAVID CRUTCHFIELD AND GLENN YOUNGER VOTED AGAINST HIRING COLLINS. ALL THREE VOTED IN FAVOR OF HIRING COLLINS ON FRIDAY. COLLINS WILL RECEIVE A SALARY OF $84,000 AND OTHER BENEFITS OF THE JOB, INCLUDING A CAR.

THE STATE IS REPORTING ITS FIRST HUMAN CASE OF THE WEST NILE VIRUS. A ST. BERNARD PARISH RESIDENT TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASE AFTER DONATING BLOOD. THE WOMAN DID NOT SHOW ANY SYMPTOMS, WHICH IS COMMON FOR WEST NILE.

A 21-YEAR-OLD NATCHITOCHES PARISH MAN HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF HIS MOTHER. PHYLLIS MCMAHON'S BODY WAS FOUND IN A SMALL POND, LOCATED ON HER PROPERTY. SHERIFF VICTOR JONES BELIEVE JAMES MCMAHON AND HIS MOTHER GOT INTO A PHYSICAL ALTERCATION THAT ENDED WITH THE DEATH OF THE 55 YEAR OLD WOMAN.

APPARENTLY IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START POLLING FOR LOUISIANA'S NEXT GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN FOR ANOTHER THREE YEARS, BUT POLLSTER VERNE KENNEDY SAYS HE WAS COMMISSIONED TO SURVEY LIKELY VOTERS ABOUT WHO THEY'D VOTE FOR AS LOUISIANA'S NEXT GOVERNOR. THE RESULT...? KENNEDY'S POLL SHOWS GOP SENATOR DAVID VITTER AND DEMOCRAT NEW ORLEANS BUSINESSMAN JOHN GEORGES IN A RUNOFF--BASED ON RESPONSES FROM OVER 600 LIKELY VOTERS. HE SAYS VITTER AND GEORGES CAME OUT TIED WITH 20-PERCENT EACH. JAY DARDENNE DREW 14%, JOHN KENNEDY 9%. OF THAT SPECULATED PACK, GEORGES IS THE ONLY DEMOCRAT. KENNEDY WOULD NOT REVEAL WHO PAID FOR THE POLL, BUT IT'S BEEN REPORTED GEORGES FUNDED THE SURVEY.

THE U-S SUPREME COURT COULD ANNOUNCE ITS RULING AS EARLY AS TODAY ON PRESIDENT OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE LAW. THE MAIN POINT OF CONTENTION IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S HEALTH-INSURANCE MANDATE. DURING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY'S RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS, BATON ROUGE CONGRESSMAN BILL CASSIDY, SOUNDED OFF ON THE LEGISLATION. CASSIDY SAYS A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT THE SUPREME COURT TO OVERTURN ALL OR PART OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW THAT WAS PASSED IN 2010. THE BATON ROUGE REPUBLICAN SAYS IT DRIVES UP HEALTH CARE COSTS, MAKING IT HARDER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO HIRE WORKERS. THE PRESIDENT DID NOT ADDRESS THE SUPREME COURT'S ANTICIPATED RULING IN HIS ADDRESS, INSTEAD HE URGED CONGRESS TO PASS THE TRANSPORTATION BILL AND ARGUED AGAINST HIGHER INTEREST RATES FOR FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS.

A SECOND TEACHERS UNION SUED FRIDAY OVER GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S VOUCHER PROGRAM, OBJECTING TO THE USE OF THE STATE'S PUBLIC-SCHOOL FINANCING FORMULA TO PAY FOR TUITION TO ATTEND PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. THE LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS FILED ITS LAWSUIT IN BATON ROUGE DISTRICT COURT, ASKING FOR THE NEWLY PASSED LEGISLATION TO BE THROWN OUT AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE LAWSUIT ARGUES THAT THE PROCESS FOR PASSING A PACKAGE OF JINDAL-SOUGHT EDUCATION CHANGES AND THEIR FINANCING THROUGH THE PUBLIC SCHOOL FORMULA VIOLATES THE LOUISIANA CONSTITUTION.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL HAS TAPPED HIS FORMER CHIEF LAWYER TO DEFEND THE GOVERNOR'S EDUCATION LAWS IN COURT. JIMMY FAIRCLOTH IS THE ATTORNEY REPRESENTING THE STATE, THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AND THE STATE EDUCATION BOARD IN LAWSUITS SEEKING TO THROW OUT THE GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE EDUCATION POLICIES, INCLUDING THE CREATION OF A STATEWIDE VOUCHER PROGRAM.

STATE OFFICIALS ARE SEEKING ADVICE FROM THE IRS ON WHETHER LOUISIANA'S NEW STATE PENSION SYSTEM WOULD MEET FEDERAL RULES. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL'S ADMINISTRATION IS SEEKING AN OPINION ON WHETHER A CASH BALANCE RETIREMENT PLAN WOULD PROVIDE BENEFITS EQUIVALENT TO SOCIAL SECURITY. RIGHT NOW, LOUISIANA STATE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENROLLED IN THE FEDERAL SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, MEANING THAT THE STATE DOESN'T HAVE TO PAY THE EMPLOYER'S SHARE OF SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES. IF THE NEW SYSTEM ISN'T JUDGED EQUIVALENT, THE STATE AND EMPLOYEES COULD HAVE TO ENROLL IN SOCIAL SECURITY AND START PAYING TAXES. THE NEW PENSION PLAN, MEANT TO SAVE THE STATE MONEY, WILL TAKE EFFECT FOR STATE EMPLOYEES HIRED AFTER JULY 1, 2013.

AFTER TWO YEARS OF BELOW-AVERAGE RAINFALL IN LOUISIANA, THE RAIN SEEMS TO BE RETURNING THIS YEAR. THE STATE'S AVERAGE RAINFALL MARK STANDS AT 31.6 INCHES, WHICH IS ABOVE THE NORMAL LEVEL OF 21.9 INCHES. DURING THE PAST TWO YEARS, LESS THAN NORMAL RAINFALL RESULTED IN A DEFICIT OF 25 TO 30 INCHES IN THE STATE. THE RELIEF FROM DROUGHT STARTED EARLIER THIS YEAR WHEN THE ENTIRE STATE OFFICIALLY WAS CLASSIFIED AS BEING OUT OF DROUGHT, STARTING IN APRIL. ACCORDING TO STATE CLIMATOLOGIST BARRY KEIM, "FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWO YEARS, NO PLACE ANYWHERE IN LOUISIANA WAS IN DROUGHT”.

HIKING TRAILS, VEHICLE TRAILS, FISHING PIERS, CAMPSITES AND AN OBSERVATION DECK COULD BE PART OF PLANS MAKE THE ATCHAFALAYA BASIN MORE WELCOMING TO THE PUBLIC. THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS IS SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENT ON A PUBLIC ACCESS PLAN FOR LAND IT OWNS AROUND THE RIVER. MUCH OF THE LAND IS IN THE INDIAN BAYOU RECREATION AREA, A 28,500 TRACT IN ST. MARTIN AND ST. LANDRY PARISHES NORTH OF INTERSTATE 10. THE NEW PLAN CONTINUES TO ADDRESSES WATER QUALITY ISSUES, HUNTING AND FISHING REGULATIONS, AND CONSERVATION. BUT PUBLIC-ACCESS ENHANCEMENTS ARE A FOCUS OF THE UPDATED PLAN. WHAT GETS BUILT DEPEND ON HOW MUCH MONEY THE FEDERAL AGENCY RECEIVES. THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTING IS JULY 19.

THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE HAS DETERMINED CONSTRUCTION WORKERS STARTED A FIRE THAT DESTROYED A GYMNASIUM THAT WAS UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT THE GLENBROOK OF MINDEN PRIVATE SCHOOL. INVESTIGATORS SAY METAL GRINDER SPARKED A FIRE IN THE WALL AND FLAMES SPREAD VERY QUICKLY. PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ESTIMATES ARE NEARLY A HALF-MILLION DOLLARS. OFFICIALS SAY THE ONLY INJURY WAS TO A FIREFIGHTER, WHO SUFFERED FROM HEAT EXHAUSTION.


SPORTS..

THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS ARE ABOUT ONE MONTH AWAY FROM STARTING TRAINING CAMP, AND THE BIG QUESTION ON THE MINDS OF BLACK AND GOLD FANS IS, "WILL QUARTERBACK DREW BREES BE THERE?" NFL ANALYST MIKE DETILLIER SAYS ABSOLUTELY. HE SAYS THE DEADLINE IS JULY 16TH FOR THE FRANCHISE TO MAKE A DEAL WITH THE SUPERBOWL MVP AND HE EXPECTS IT TO GET DONE LAST MINUTE. DETILLIER SAYS THERE ARE ONLY A FEW KINKS LEFT TO BE IRONED OUT. DETILLIER BELIEVES ONCE A DOLLAR AMOUNT IS SETTLED UPON AND AN AGREEMENT ON HOW THE MONEY WILL BE DISTRIBUTED, BREES WILL BE SIGNED ON WITH THE SAINTS LONG TERM.

God Bless America!

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